The supercool local moms Stephanie Troeller and Mary Kate Mellow who created the Prima Princessa brand are getting creative again. As a companion to their website and DVDs, they’ve just released a new book Ballet for Beginners.
And they want to give you a copy along with a Prima Princessa ballerina gift basket. The winner will receive the hardcover book, Ballet for Beginners, copies each of the 3 DVDs: Swan Lake (featuring the Paris Opera Ballet), The Nutcracker (featuring London’s Birmingham Royal Ballet),and Sleeping Beauty (featuring London’s Royal Ballet). They’ll also include a gorgeous tutu and tiara for the budding ballerina who wins.
Want to win? Tell us two things in comments about your favorite little ballerina–why does she love dance so much? And where does she take lessons locally?
Contest starts Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 12 pm EST and ends Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 9 pm EST. One person who leaves a comment by Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 9 pmwill be chosen at random to receive Ballet for Beginners and copies each of the 3 DVDs!
In the meantime, we wanted to catch up with ballerina moms Stephanie and Mary Kate. Here’s all of the scoop on their latest projects, their TV show, their new website and how they started this successful business that sprung out of lively playdates in their Montclair homes.
KK: Tell us about yourself. What got you interested in ballet–especially teaching it to kids?
Stephanie Troeller and Mary Kate Mellow: Stephanie is a former ballerina, and we are both lovers of ballet. But who really loved it was our daughters, all preschoolers at the time who inspired Prima Princessa. On play-dates they used to dance around to our old VCR tapes of famous ballets. We just had that Eureka moment where we realized that we could create ballet shows for kids that combined real ballet performances with ballet lessons. We loved the idea of creating shows that get children up and moving and could inspire children to dance ballet and become lovers of the performing arts.
KK: How did your new book, Ballet for Beginners, come to fruition?
ST and MKM: After we had made our first show, New Jersey Monthly profiled us in their magazine. Soon after the head of Imagine Publishing, Charlie Nurnberg read the article then called us up to see if we’d like to do a book for children on ballet. We jumped at the chance.
KK: Tell us about your awesome DVDs and how they tie into your latest project.
ST and MKM: Our Parent’s Choice Award winning shows have been aired on more than 350 PBS and Public Television stations nationwide, we have 3 shows in our series Swan Lake, The Nutcracker andSleeping Beauty. Our shows are 60 minute Specials for children 3 to 6, where viewers are encouraged to put on their tutus and get up and dance along as the cartoon fairy Prima Princessa takes you on a magical adventure to see a live performance of the Nutcracker, featuring England’s world famous Birmingham Royal Ballet. Prima Princessa narrates the story so kids can understand the plot, and between acts, they come back home and have mini-ballet lessons from students at the School of American Ballet, the official academy of the New York City Ballet.
We have lots of ideas for more Prima Princessa shows featuring not only ballet, but other performing art forms such as tap, opera, and Broadway. We also have ideas for more ballet books as well as book on crafts, parties and cooking for kids. This year we’ve been busy expanding the sales of our show internationally, we released our show in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and we already were in Australia and Japan. The past 2 months we spent building an entirely new website that is much more interactive than our first one. Every morning after we dropped off our kids at school we would get together for 3-4 hours working on our site. Our PrimaPrincessa site features online games, crafts, children’s party ideas, coloring pages, and ballet resources like a ballet dictionary and listings of ballet schools and companies throughout the USA.
KK: Was it difficult to start your business out of your home in Montclair?
ST and MKM: At the time we were both stay-at-home moms and were together quite a bunch as all our kids were friends. It was really fun to be able to have a creative project to work on together, but it was hard as neither of us had any childcare. We often worked late at night or early in the morning when the kids were sleeping. Having a partner really helped as we could count on one another to take over something if something came up like a sick child.
KK: How did you do it? If you had one tip for other local mom entrepreneurs, what would it be?
ST and MKM: There are so many tips we can give to local mom entrepreneurs. First reach out to as many people as you can for advice. Montclair is jam-packed with creative people, many of whom are more than happy to give advice. Second, a solid business plan is key. It takes time to write one, but it really helps set priorities. Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing otherwise you’ll burn out on it quickly.